Hearing loss in young children has a more profound effect on them than say, adults. Children use their hearing to learn and develop communication skills. The more difficult part is that young children won’t be able to tell their parents that they have problems hearing.
Hearing loss does not exactly mean that a child can’t hear at all. It may just be a case of the sounds not loud enough for him to hear it. As a result, the child does not respond to people around him. Other signs of hearing loss are delays in speech, language development, and educational progress.
Hearing Tests for children
So how is hearing in young children tested?
The audiologist will choose the child hearing tests that best suits the age, ability, and overall circumstances of the child. It usually involves a combination of physiological and behavioral tests.
One behavioral test carried out is the behavioral observation audiometry (BOA) which is carried out with infants younger than 7 months, as well as with older children who don’t respond to any sound they hear. Noisemakers of various frequencies are used and the child’s responses like startling are noted.
Another test is called the visual reinforcement orientation audiometry which is usually done on children between seven months and three years of age. Sounds of different frequencies are played and the audiologist will note the instances when the child turns towards the speaker.
Another test, play audiometry, tests the hearing of children from three years and above. It is like pure tone audiometry although the difference is that when a child hears a tone, he or she is asked to either put a marble in a marble race or press a computer key.
Electro-physiological tests are also carried out to identify the part of the auditory system that is responsible for the hearing loss. One type is the oto-acoustic emission testing which determines how hair cells in the cochlea are functioning. Cochlea is the auditory portion of the inner ear.
Another type is the brainstem evoked response audiometry which gives info on the electrical activity generated in response to sound along the nerve pathway. It is usually carried out when the baby is sleeping.
Another test carried out in young children is electro-cochleography which is performed under anesthetic. It detects tiny electrical signals generated in response to sound and provide info about the functioning of the cochlea.
If you think your child need a hearing aid, make sure that he/she get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our child hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
and Hearing Aid Prescription